Bermuda Withdraws From Olympic Qualifiers

With the NACRA 7s Olympic Qualifiers arriving in just over two weeks on June 13th, it looks like the competition for the regional Olympic spot has reduced down by one. Today Bermuda Rugby officially withdrew from the qualifier tournament. They released a statement saying:

The Bermuda Rugby Football Union regrets to officially announce the withdrawal of both Men’s and Women’s Senior National 7s teams from the 2015 NACRA 7s that were due to take place next month in the USA. The reason for the late withdrawal surrounds the issue of player eligibility.

The Bermuda Rugby Football Union regrets to officially announce the withdrawal of both Men’s and Women’s Senior National 7s teams from the 2015 NACRA 7s that were due to take place next month in the USA. The reason for the late withdrawal surrounds the issue of player eligibility.

BRFU president Sean Field-Lament: “It goes without saying how disappointed we are about this development. We pulled out due to the late notification of eligibility requirements, which is not in line with previous tournaments. The ramifications of eligibility to Bermuda and other smaller amateur Unions within NACRA, and indeed around the World is huge. Given advanced warning, we could have selected alternative players and taken the necessary steps to acquire the appropriately issued passports for several of our players. You can understand our deep frustration. Contingencies plans are in place to recoup some of the finical losses. The Men’s National team are now entered the Monmouth 7s on June 20th, and will also be competing at the Serevi 7s in Glendale in August. The Women’s team is looking at a sevens tournament in Calgary on 3rd and 4th July. We will put this disappointment behind us and move on”.

Historically World Rugby (iRB) had a three year residency requirement for national representation. With the return of rugby as an Olympic Sport, World Rugby eligibility rules have been altered to bring them in line with IOC rules in time for the Summer Olympics in Rio 2016. This is a change, as qualifying tournaments for Commonwealth, CAC and PAN-AM Games were open to any player who met World Rugby’s eligibility criteria which were not dependent on which passport they held. World Rugby’s Eligibility Policy, dated July 2014, stipulates that National team athletes must possess passports issued by the participating nation.

It means that Bermuda National Team rugby players must possess British Overseas Territory (Bermudian) Passports issued by the Government of Bermuda. Bermudians in possession of British Passports issued in the UK are not eligible. Bermuda has players who have proudly represented Bermuda with passports from Ireland, U.S., Jamaica, Barbados, Japan, Canada and the UK. The vast majority of those players also possess Bermudian status. However they are now not eligible unless they are in possession of British Overseas Territory (Bermudian) Passport issued by the Government of Bermuda.

Source: Bermuda Rugby Press Release

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